Most men are under the quaint but naïve misconception that their female partners are the romantic halves of their relationship. My experience is some-what different, and yes, this might hurt.
In my opinion, women marry men for one of three reasons. They are good providers, handsome, or they serve some sort of practical purpose.
As a writer whose name is not Stephen King, and someone who doesn’t fall into the George Clooney category, looks wise, it was fairly easy for me to ascertain what group I fit into.
My wife married me because I can carry heavy things. She callously assessed how much shopping she does, looked at all her furniture, considered her many kitchen appliances, and thought to herself, he looks like a good carrier, he’ll do.
As carriers go, I am fairly reliable. I can cope with large shopping bags, refrigerators and the odd washing machine quite easily.
To add to my desirability, I am versatile enough to also be able to open the odd uncooperative olive jar or dig occasional holes in the garden (when supervised).
As a writer/carrier I come with another advantage. I tend to be fairly quiet. Some carrier models are sports fans and they can get a little rowdy from time to time. Generally, I can be left in the corner like a robust but unattractive house plant, and only be brought out as and when my services are required.
I am not blowing my own trumpet here, and I understand that I am far from perfect. Ideally, my beloved would like me to have been considerably smaller, and preferably pliable.
That way, I could be folded and stored in the kitchen drawer along with the can opener, the cheese grater, and that strange looking spoon that is used for making melon balls.
On the positive side, I am low maintenance and can be left sitting among the rubber plants, lilies and delicious monsters, typing away until needed. Feeding is simply a matter of a few cold beers and the occasional meal.
The rare exception to this is when I inadvertently hit a wrong button on the computer and fire a piece I am working on into some unknown parallel universe. This can result in a minor outbreak of bad language. At this point, my wife will calmly saunter across the room, run her fingers lightly over the keyboard, and pat me gently on the head as the page I require miraculously reappears.
One of the advantages of my position among the indoor shrubbery is that I get to listen in on one half of my wife’s many phone conversations. These tend to be among the highlights of my day. They often go something like this:
“Oh, hi Jean. I heard you just got a new washing machine.”
“Of course, you can borrow him. I’ll send him straight over.”
“No, don’t be silly. He’s a writer, he never does anything important.”
“Well, its only two blocks so he shouldn’t get lost, but if he’s not there in twenty minutes give me a call and I’ll go out and find him.”
“Sure, you can borrow the melon spoon as well, but I don’t think I should send it over with him. He’s bound to lose it or break it. I’ll bring it over myself later.”
I was surprised to learn that our wives have these sorts of conversation all the time and that the lending of carriers is quite a common arrangement.
I imagine if you fall into the rich or handsome categories, then husband lending rules are very different.
The one thing that all we carriers need to come to terms with is that we have a limited shelf life. One slipped disk or a slightly gammy knee and we cease to be fit for purpose.
Downstairs in our garage is a dark and musty cupboard. In it you will an assortment of retired household items including a broken Amstrad electronic typewriter, a slow cooker that became overzealous, and a fondue set. I have accepted that this is my eventual destiny and have resigned myself to my fate. On many occasions, I have imagined the telephone call following that sad event.
“Yes, it was a hiatus hernia. He’s totally useless now.”
“No, I’m not planning on getting another one.” Short burst of cruel laughter. “They take up so much space and they are forever messing up the laptop. Besides, with online shopping, most of the stuff I need gets delivered anyway and I have no plans of moving.”
“No, I definitely don’t want yours, thankyou very much. Those sports fan models are so noisy and you already mentioned there were flatulence issues.”
“Now that I have the space, I’m toying with the idea of getting some new houseplants.”
“Thanks, Jean. I will call if I need to borrow him but its unlikely. Say, you don’t want a fondue set, do you?”
I suspect that many men reading this article might become a little distressed once they understand just how ruthless our wives can be. The only comfort I can really offer is that in some species, the females eat their mate after sex, and at least we can console ourselves with the fact that we will be kept around for slightly longer than that.